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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Not in front of the children!

Dr Pete Deveson

This week, I’m going to have to split you up into two groups. If you’re a trainee, I need you to stop reading RIGHT NOW. I’m sorry, young Padawan, but this blog contains important grown-up information that has been deemed unsuitable for your delicate sensibilities. So just let your eyes defocus while you think happy thoughts for a few paragraphs, and then hook up with the rest of us proper GPs at the bottom of the page. Kay? Kay.

‘What’s with the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stuff, Pete?’, I hear the remaining readership ask, in their habitual burnt-out presbyphonic croak. The answer, my silver-haired chums, is that I’m following the direct instructions of the RCGP Chair: we shouldn’t say anything bad about general practice to our trainees, for fear of scaring them away.

Fresh from an ill-advised photo opportunity with Jeremy Hunt in which they appear to be trialling the Chotchkie’s flair policy, Prof Stokes-Lampard says we should vent to our peers, but not to our juniors.

So, I can’t talk openly about rocketing indemnity costs, the recruitment crisis, the ever-more-intrusive scrutiny of our various three-letter-acronym regulators, the constant background threat of litigation or the incessant dumping of work from secondary care.

‘For every negative thing you say to a trainee,’ explains the Prof, ‘somebody else has got to say ten or more good things to reassure them there is a future for general practice.’ I’m not sure who this mythical somebody else is who’s managed to think of a whole ten good things about the job, but I’d like some of what they’re smoking.

OK, that was unfair. I understand the point Stokes-Lampard is trying to make, but if anything, it feels a bit unethical to wait until they’ve fallen off the end of the blisteringly expensive RCGP training conveyor belt before outlining to our juniors exactly what they’ve let themselves in for.

It’s hardly informed consent, is it? If we try and hoodwink them with the idea it’s all sunshine and lollipops they’ll just be at higher risk of disillusionment when faced with reality. As George Carlin said, inside every cynic is a disappointed idealist.

Oh, HELLO again! Did you have a good nap? No, just grown up stuff, nothing for you to worry about. The tooth fairy is real, and general practice is a flawless profession with absolutely no downsides. Now be sure to pay your college fees and if anything upsets you why not do some nice colouring-in?

Dr Pete Deveson is a GP in Surrey. You can follow him on Twitter @PeteDeveson

 

 

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Readers' comments (14)

  • Very funny!

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  • Well said, what an ill advice from someone who has the power and autherity to change things, GP can be a really enjoyable professiin if we start fixing these issue rebrand it as family phyician consultants, increase consultantion times, cut bureaucracy with different specialities referring to each others directly and ensure that secondery care take responsibilty for their worklaod rather than passing it to primary care, what difficult in trying to solve these issue, but hold on rather than solving them she decide to bury head in the sand and wants everyone to do the same!!!

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  • sorry for my grammatical errors I've wriiten this in a harry, but I hope you get my idea.

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  • DOI: Am an ST3. You're right but there is still a pervasive, spoken and unspoken, contempt towards general practice at medical school and secondary care that is very off-putting to potential trainees.

    Just as Tim Minchin advises that "Only a ginger can call another ginger 'Ginger!' ", perhaps criticisms of GP ought to be solely our domain.

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  • Great article as always. Why shoudl we whisper in corridors about the issues in general practice? Trainees need to know this stuff to prepare them for reality rather than the cardie oriented ivory tower mentality that seems to pervade college pronouncements such as this. I am relatively recently qualified (couple of years)and my trainer at the time was very much the "all is rosey" mentality, Fortunatley, i had colleagues and friends who werent so blinkered so i got a very good warts and all perspective. Trainees need to have an honest view of how things are

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  • Absolutely unethical to not discuss with registrars the 'informed consent' bit of training as it is as important as all the academic hoops they need to jump through. To suggest that we tow them along only to tell them they've invested their lot and have no paddle to go back up sh1t creek to a decent job is just plain wrong!

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  • Cobblers

    Well it has all been happening on Facebook a few days back.

    The President of the RCGP admitted that he has been keeping a log of GPs posting negative comments about the RCGP on various of the GP Facebook groups. He was called out on this and said he had been doing it for about a year.

    Jeez who needs the Stasi? Bin the buggers. Seriously.

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  • whats he going to do with his list ha ha

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  • Difficult to understand why anyone stays a member after passing MRCGP. Have they not yet extorted enough money from you? Did you really find e-portfolio improved your learning experience?

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  • Hmmm, I do think there has to a balance of comments though? If it is all bad bad bad why is anyone staying working in general practice? There must be some good bits?! I nearly quit as an ST1 (got another job) because all I heard was negativity from the GPs I was working with. Decided to stay after speaking to a more balanced positive younger GP and can now see good future. I don't think anyone should lie but as the informed consent argument keeps coming up I would point out that you do normally tell the person the benefits at the same time...

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